When iconic global toy store chain Toys R Us was locking up all their locations in the US and elsewhere last year, we thought a piece of toy retail history was fading away forever. It felt like an ignoble end for what was one of the best sources for toys from brands like LEGO, a major partner of theirs.
Before 2018 ended however, there was a spark of hope when plans were announced to revive the chain in the US as store-within-a-store Geoffrey’s Toy Box. But that was only the beginning. With the owning company out of bankruptcy and under a new name, Toys R Us seems ready to return.
Toy World Mag has it that the parent company of the Toys R Us chain, now renamed to Tru Kids Inc., is now ready to follow through with its plans for a resurgence in its home market. This will be overseen by former Toys R Us Inc. chief merchandising officer, Richard Barry, now president and CEO for Tru Kids.
With their restructuring complete and emergence from bankruptcy achieved, the new company hopes to further restore the goodwill of customers in all the properties they own: the Toys R Us brand, plus Babies R Us and mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe, whose name graces their pop-up store initiative during the 2018 holidays.
The Geoffrey’s Toy Box store-within-a-store strategy which launched towards the previous Holiday season, while well-noticed, still fell short of meeting the gap in consumer demand according to Barry.
“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write the next chapter of Toys“R”Us by launching a newly imagined omni channel retail experience for our beloved brands here in the US,” he said. “In addition, our strong global footprint is led by experienced and passionate operating teams that are 100% focused on growth.”
While the drive to reestablish itself in the US market is ongoing, Tru Kids will continue to strengthen its connections with its global business partners, especially in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, to make sure Toys R Us stores in those regional markets continue expanding.
Not everything has been smooth sailing for the Toys R Us renaissance under Tru Kids brands. Observers from the international toy industry voiced their misgivings to Toy World that the retail chain’s reinvention did not adequately resolve the masses of debts it had incurred on its original downward spiral to bankruptcy. The Tru Kids rebranding to them seems like an attempt to start with a clean slate under false pretenses while ignoring all TRU staff and employees that were affected.